Comparing three pedagogical approaches to psychomotor skills acquisition

Ross E. Willis, Jacqueline Richa, Richard Oppeltz, Patrick Nguyen, Kelly Wagner, Kent R. Van Sickle, Daniel L. Dent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We compared traditional pedagogical approaches such as time- and repetition-based methods with proficiency-based training. Laparoscopic novices were assigned randomly to 1 of 3 training conditions. In experiment 1, participants in the time condition practiced for 60 minutes, participants in the repetition condition performed 5 practice trials, and participants in the proficiency condition trained until reaching a predetermined proficiency goal. In experiment 2, practice time and number of trials were equated across conditions. In experiment 1, participants in the proficiency-based training conditions outperformed participants in the other 2 conditions (P <.014); however, these participants trained longer (P <.001) and performed more repetitions (P <.001). In experiment 2, despite training for similar amounts of time and number of repetitions, participants in the proficiency condition outperformed their counterparts (P <.038). In both experiments, the standard deviations for the proficiency condition were smaller than the other conditions. Proficiency-based training results in trainees who perform uniformly and at a higher level than traditional training methodologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Deliberate practice
  • Laparoscopy
  • Proficiency-based training
  • Simulators
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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